A - Audience
The choir must always keep the nature of the audience in mind when planning for a choral program set. "What is the age, interest, education, culture, musical taste, etc. of the audience group?" It is good to have several sets of repertoire that will cater to different types of audiences.
B - Breathing
It is essential that a choir learns the proper breathing techniques in choral singing. During rehearsal, breathing points should be discussed, especially points in staggered breathing, to result in seamless long melodic lines. Sometimes, breathing exercises are necessary to ensure proper vocal attacks.
C - Commitment
This is a very important quality of each choir member, the conductor included. The level of commitment determines what goals will be achieved and how soon these goals will materialize.
D - Dream
It is not wrong to dream. It gives a sense of hope to a choir or a conductor on what they want to achieve. So dream big and take the necessary steps to achieve this.
E - Eye contact
Perfect entrances, cueing, clear conducting intentions are achieved through eye contact. The choir must be trained, from the onset of the rehearsal up to the performance, to always look at the conductor. The conductor on the other hand must maintain good eye contact with the choir to communicate his intentions effectively, thus it is important that the choir is positioned effectively to keep the conductor in view.
F - Facial Expression
Emphatic performance can be achieved more effectively if the faces of the choir help communicate the message of the music. A beautiful piece of music can be deadened by blank facial expression of the singers.
G - Gestures
Conducting gestures should be very clear from rehearsal to performance. Each gesture made by the conductor is important and means something. As the choir and conductor gels through time, gestures may be lessened but intentions are communicated effectively just the same.
H - Heart
The emotional aspect of each piece must not be neglected after the techniques have been mastered. If the choir feels what they sing, the audience will feel it also.
I - Intonation
Training the choir to listen to his or her own voice to maintain good intonation is one of the first things to be established in order to create a good choral sound. Intonation problems must be addressed and corrected during vocalizes and as soon as pitch mistakes are made during rehearsals so that bad intonation habits will not be formed.
J - Jam
As sticky as a jam spread, the choir members must keep a close bond knowing each other both vocally, musically and personally. It helps ease any anxiety or stiffness caused by unfamiliarity. This way, it will be easier to evoke the affects demanded by the pieces when inhibitions are lessened.
K - Knowledge
A good knowledge of the piece is essential most especially to the conductor before teaching the music to the choir. A thorough research on the performance practice of a period music, language, composer's intent, and message of the piece helps bring out a musically accurate rendition.
L - Leadership
Taking control of a group entails good leadership ability from a conductor. It is up to the conductor's style to determine effective ways to help the choir achieve each rehearsal's goals up to the performance. What is important is that the singers follow the conductor like shepherd to the sheep.
M - Maximize
Maximize each member's abilities and talents by knowing each individual. For sure there are other talents that can be used by the choir apart from singing. Some can be good in marketing a concert, some may be artistic - to help design sets, costumes, or programs, some may have good administrative capabilities, etc. These things add substance to a group aside from musical capability.
N - Note-Reading
Note-reading is an essential skill, though not compulsory, to a choral singer, but should be present in a conductor. With note-reading skill, more pieces can be learned in shorter periods of time, and bulk of rehearsal periods will be devoted to shaping and understanding the music rather teaching and learning by rote.
O - Opportunities
Once the conductor is confident of the choir's sound, he or she should be on the look-out for opportunities for performance, choral workshops, and festivals. Opportunities for performances should be the goal for every piece learned, and it keeps both the conductor and the choir on their toes to make each performance better than the last.
P - Posture
Proper posture is important not only because it helps in proper breathing, good intonation, and good vocal production but it also gives positive physical presentabilty of the choir in general. If good posture is emphasized during rehearsals, from the seating up to the stand-by period before alighting the stage, it comes out naturally, and it carries through up to the exit after the performance. Good posture must be second nature to the choir.
Q - Quality vs. Quantity
Sometimes the conductor must decide whether to choose to get lesser good sounding members or a multitude of average singers. This has often been a debatable issue when dealing with amateur singers. It is a challenge to every conductor to decide on whether to keep committed not-so good singers who are willing to be trained and be developed as against maintaining very good , or even professional, singers who can only commit a limited period of time. Perhaps the answer depends on what end result is expected, or on the urgency of the performance.
R - Rehearsal Techniques
A well-organized rehearsal contributes to a better performance. Details like, folders, pencils, good seats, rehearsal room, tuned piano, arranged pieces, good vocal warm-ups and other things pertaining to rehearsal requirements must never beunderestimated. Every aspect regarding the performance of a piece should be well addressed during rehearsal. That's the best time when a conductor can be in full control.
S - Sectionals
Assigning good section leaders can help the choir achieve rehearsal goals faster. This is essential especially during preparations for concerts when a number of pieces have to be studied within a limited time period.
T - Tact
Sometimes, there will be circumstances that may put the conductor's patience to a test. Even if it takes extra effort, one must practice tact at all times in order to maintain professionalism and to keep the choir's morale intact.
U - Understanding
Apart from understanding the music, there should also be a reasonable amount of understanding towards the members of the choir as persons with feelings. Remember that the instrument is the choir and a conductor deals with beings who encounter different situations in life.
V - Variety/ Versatility
The choir must be prepared to perform in any kind of event; thus, there should be a varied mix of pieces in their repertoire to suit any occasion.
W - Wardrobe
A good investment for a regularly performing and/ or touring choir is a wardrobe that is not only functionally but aesthetically designed. The wardrobe must also project a unique and appealing image for the choir.
X - X-Factor
What makes your choir different from the others? What sets you apart? What is that X-factor that makes audience think you're unforgettable and thus long for more of your performances?
Y - Yakkity-yak less
"Sing more, talk less." Although a conductor has control of the choir's rehearsal time, he must not abuse it with very long naggings or even long, senseless anecdotes. Always keep the rehearsal goals in mind.
Z - Zeal
Wake-up each morning with the energy and passion to bring out the best in each situation. A servant of music lives, breathes, emanates music in every aspect of his daily life. Keep the zeal and it will be a great influence to your choir and to those around you.